Weekly Obsession 4: Weddings!

26 Jan

I was never one of those girls who stuck a pillowcase on her head and pretended to walk down the aisle. In fact, before I met shmerson, I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to get married. Then I knew I did, with him to be precise, but still – except some abstract planning I didn’t give it much thought until he proposed in October of 2009.

That’s when the obsession began. I spent hours upon hours planning everything. Months upon months.

This is the point where I need to explain something. Israeli weddings are far looser affairs than what most people are used to. There’s no bridal party, rarely there are formal speeches, and most ceremonies are relatively short.

Being a “Best Man” (yes really) at a wedding a couple of years ago in the states has made me appreciate this very much.

Here’s how your typical Israeli wedding goes:

Bride gets hair and make up done while groom gets car decorated, picks up the bouquet, and puts on his clothes (usually a simple suit – very rarely in the black tie range).

Our car - decked out in purple ribbons. Nope - no "just married sign" it's not how we roll. 🙂

Groom gets the ok to pick up bride. He comes to wherever the bride is getting ready and sees her for the first time (there is no superstition about the “before the ceremony” thing here). This is actually a really exciting moment.

Shmerson and I moments after he saw me for the first time. Happy finger dance!

Bride and Groom go off with the photographers to take pictures in some interesting looking location.

Artsy, ain't it? No, I have no idea what that structure is.

Bride and Groom arrive at wedding venue. Either they lock themselves up until after the cocktails or mingle and greet the guests as they arrive (which is what shmerson and I chose to do).

Squish and I during cocktails. I wasn't drunk. I swear!

Ceremony – Groom walks down to the huppah (sometimes with his parents), then bride walks down (sometimes with her parents). They meet under the huppah. Usually both sets of parents, the rabbi, and siblings of the couple stand behind them. While walking down the aisle no wedding march is played, but rather a song that the bride and groom have chosen. In me and shmerson’s case it was an amazing Israeli song called “Guitar and Violin” by Shmerson’s favorite singer.

It’s a beautiful song – even those who don’t understand the language may appreciate it.

Anyway – then comes the ceremony and at the end the groom stomps on a glass and breaks it to represent, well, stuff. Then the bride and groom kiss as the “glass breaking song” is played, usually something romantic and upbeat, chosen by the bride and groom, in our case, tonight tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Then the bride and groom are mobbed on all sides and get hugged and kissed for seemingly hours before everybody heads away from the huppah.

No need to explain this one. 🙂

Then there’s dinner. Usually buffet style.

Then dessert, a heck of a lot of alcohol, and a heck of a lot of dancing.

Some people choose to serve dinner before the ceremony, because that way people aren’t starving during it (ceremony usually takes place somewhere between 7pm and 9pm, aka dinnertime).

Shmerson and I didn’t originally plan it this way, but due to a fluke with the rabbi being late we had to serve dinner first and it turned out great because then all the old farts went home early and we were left to let our freak flag fly and dance our asses off until about 2 in the morning.

Dancing my ass off - hour one. Nope, still not drunk.

Dancing our ass off hour three. Shmerson rocking out to some song or another. Yep, he is drunk.

Most Israeli weddings are huge. About 400 people average invited. There are no gift registries. People bring checks. Which is awesome in my opinion.

We chose to have a relatively small wedding. 220 invited, 190-ish showed up (yes, this is considered tiny).

And seriously – it was the best. Wedding. EVER!

I have no idea why I'm making that face. But let's call it my "trust me, it was" face.

Now mind you I know I’m not objective, but I have it from several other reliable sources. Some literally called it “the wedding of the decade”.

The music was amazing (rock&roll, man! The DJ was so good he managed to make my dad dance to “closer” by Nine Inch Nails. Luckily dad didn’t understand the words but it was a surreal image nonetheless).  Warning: NSFW!!!

The food was amazing. The alcohol was amazing. And it was all laid back and party like. We even put a photo booth at the entrance where people could take pictures of themselves (by the end of the night there were some raunchy results). No, I am not posting those!

Photo Booth, 2am. Drunk on life.

Here’s the thing  – I love-love-looooooved planning it. I really didn’t think I would, but during the six months between getting the rock and saying “I do” (which actually isn’t said in the jewish ceremony, but you get the picture), I became a walking wedding encyclopedia. And I loved every minute, every detail, every cost-cutting trick I found, every excel file, every tasting.

And now? Well, the obsession has not gone away. I love watching Bridezillas (yep, I just admitted that). I love going to other people’s weddings.

Even more – I love helping to plan other people’s weddings! I am the queen of unsolicited advice and hours of conversations at parties with prospective brides about the pros and cons of a banquet hall versus an open space, cost per person, varying qualities of DJ’s…. The list goes on and on.

I love it so much that there have been moments that I actually thought of saying screw it all and becoming a wedding planner. Then I realized that most Israeli weddings are a bit more gaudy than mine was and I’d have to deal with too many Israeli Snooki equivalents so I let that idea pass.

But when a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend, or a complete stranger who is non-snooki-ish tells me that they’re planning a wedding, I light up, and volunteer myself to do anything and everything.

An amazing gay couple I know was looking into wedding costs, and I literally begged them to let me find a venue for them.

Last week at a party I gave a bride-to-be three names of photographers, 2 wedding dress designers, and of course, my phone number. 🙂

I know at least some of you out there are anti-wedding. If you are, and are thinking of getting married, please let me plan your wedding. Pretty please?


14 Responses to “Weekly Obsession 4: Weddings!”

  1. Elphaba January 26, 2011 at 17:24 #

    Aw you guys are so cute!

    And I was the same–totally uninterested in weddings until I started planning my own. Now I watch all those wedding shows and can’t get enough of them.

    • mommyodyssey January 26, 2011 at 23:22 #

      thanks 🙂 I definitely feel less weird knowing that I’m not alone in this

  2. bodegabliss January 26, 2011 at 19:17 #

    Can I just say I wish I had been invited to your wedding?! It looks like it was so much fun! What, you didn’t want to invite strangers to your wedding?

    Just last night I was having dinner with a friend who is planning her wedding and I was so excited for her. I totally want to get married again (to the same man, of course). I loved my wedding, but I’d do it all different. So I totally get your obsession!

    • mommyodyssey January 26, 2011 at 23:23 #

      Ooh! does your friend need any advice? Give her my email. 🙂

  3. bodegabliss January 26, 2011 at 19:18 #

    p.s. you guys are seriously the cutest.

  4. slcurwin January 26, 2011 at 23:17 #

    I never fantasized about getting married and when it came to planning mine, I really had trouble caring. I want to go back in time and bitch-slap my old self now because I could have had such an amazing wedding. I let my mom plan it, and she did a nice job, but it wasn’t tailored to me and hubby. the only part that was us was our first dance song being “nothing else matters” by Metallica. he was going to throw me over his shoulder and run out of the church, but his mom threw a fit.

    And no matter how many times I ask now, he wont let us have another wedding. I would wear a red dress and we’d have burgers and smokies and steak, and it would be a crazy party…preferably outside. And I’d have wings on my dress. Or it would be a mascquerade (sp?).

    • mommyodyssey January 26, 2011 at 23:22 #

      OMG!!! I totally wanted wings on my dress too! 🙂 But then I vetoed it myself for the same reason. I said – wedding, not costume party!!! So I settled for butterflies on my headband.
      Nothing Else Matters as your first dance is awesomeness incarnate!

  5. Marie March 11, 2011 at 05:05 #

    Reporting from the anti-wedding camp. I just now brought myself to read this, after facebook-stalking your pictures, seeing all the wedding ones, and remembering you once told me to read this post to see how yours was (or wasn’t) a crazy Israeli wedding.

    My wedding was huge and traditional American/Catholic, with no detail left out. I hated planning it. HATED. It cost way too much, and I made everyone I know fly for several hours to attend it. Then I felt like I was performing the whole time. Then I felt like a fraud when my marriage ended just a few months later. I’ve posted about it – actually reposted some of my thoughts from just a few weeks after the event, under the title “Wedding #1.”

    I do like other people’s weddings. I haven’t been IN one in a few years, but never had a problem being a bridesmaid, and actually kind of liked being the back-up planner – you know, just not the bride. But here’s the thing:

    I am probably going to get married again. I am probably going to have to have a wedding of some sort – and I think even I would feel cheated if I didn’t. I told Doug I want NO MORE than a year to plan the thing, preferably less, because the more time I have, the more crazy and resentful I’m apt to become.

    This is happening sooner than I think I’m ready for, but also, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. So I’m already thinking about details I might want, and how to do it on the cheap this time, and how to make it meaningful this time, and really, how to make it as little as possible like the last time, in every way.

    I already figured I’d invite you, and Yolk, and SLC, and Courtney, and Arohanui – just for fun, or just in case anyone wanted a vacation to somewhere warmer. And I’ve got a great events person in Dawn already, but just so you know, when the time comes to plan this wedding… Feel free to knock yourself out, because I sure as hell don’t want to do it.

    • mommyodyssey March 11, 2011 at 12:20 #

      Oh honey! You just made my year!
      And I say go as anti-formal as possible! I can help!

  6. Kelly May 23, 2011 at 21:37 #

    cute cute cute cute!

  7. Shelley September 29, 2012 at 00:33 #

    Okay I LOVE that last photo of you and Schmerson. I too became wedding OBSESSED during my wedding planning. I think I was subscribed at one point to something like 50 wedding blogs. Then just as soon as it came on, it dried up (after our wedding). I still really like the thought of planning a wedding and advising people but the obsessiveness has (thankfully!) passed. Anyways, now I get why you prefer Israeli weddings to American ones! Though there are a small percentage of American weddings that are as laid back as yours way. Not a ton… but some!


  1. Anniversary Week Post 4: The Proposal (?) « Mommy Odyssey - May 23, 2011

    […] So – we got married on May 27th, 2010. I was 29, Shmerson was 27. And it was beautiful. […]

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